Be PreparedSeptember 6, 2012 - 5:00 am
“And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes and be ready by the third day, because on that day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people . . .’ After Moses had gone down the mountain to the people, he consecrated them, and they washed their clothes. Then he said to the people, ‘Prepare yourselves for the third day . . . ’” — Exodus 19:10, 14–15
In Exodus, as God was about to appear to the people of Israel at the foot of Mount Sinai, He instructed Moses to have the people prepare themselves for that occasion. In the book of Numbers, the word “prepare” appears more than 30 times as God gave His people detailed instructions for how the people were to prepare the sacrifices and themselves for worship. Clearly, being prepared is important to God.
In the Jewish tradition, the extensive, detailed preparation for the Sabbath and our anticipation of this special day are essential parts of its observance. Just as the Israelites prepared themselves physically and spiritually before receiving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, so we undergo a physical and spiritual preparation before experiencing Shabbat.
Listen to what the God says in the book of Exodus: “Six days you shall labor, and do all your work” (20:9). Physically, we plan to finish all our work in six days. If we embrace this mindset and plan for the week, then we are both physically and mentally ready for Shabbat.
You’re probably wondering how that is possible in today’s demanding workplace, where, with today’s technology, we are able to take our work with us wherever we are?
The rabbis take this passage to mean that we should feel as if all our work has been completed when the Sabbath arrives. Our work undoubtedly will still be there when the work week begins again, but we are to greet the Shabbat in a spirit of peace, without anxious thoughts of what has yet to be done. Our hearts and minds should be focused on Him and all that His grace provides for us.
Is that how you approach the Lord’s Day? Individually, and then with your family, consider what steps you can take to prepare for your worship time. What can you do to ensure that you are greeting this day of worship in a true spirit of peace?